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Smith to make first start with Rockets; Spurs' Mills returns

POSTED: Dec 28, 2014 6:53 PM ET


Josh Smith is set to make his first start with the Houston Rockets on Sunday in their game against the injury-depleted San Antonio Spurs.

Smith had 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists in his debut with Houston on Friday, just hours after signing with the team as a free agent. He averaged 13.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28 games with Detroit before being released by the Pistons a week ago.

"We had practice yesterday, I think he's picked up enough of what we're doing," Houston coach Kevin McHale said.

The Spurs should have guard Patty Mills available for the first time this season.

San Antonio's players have missed a combined 92 games this season due to injury. The Spurs will be without Kawhi Leonard (bruised right hand) and Tony Parker (mild strain left hamstring).

Mills has not played since undergoing right shoulder surgery in July to repair a rotator-cuff injury. The sharp-shooting, 6-foot guard from Australia provided the Spurs with dynamic scoring off the bench last season, capped by a 17-point performance in the Spurs' series-clinching victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.

San Antonio will need his scoring to help boost a depleted roster that has lost six of its past seven games.

"I don't care who you are in this league or what team you're at, nobody can sustain a lot of injuries when they keep on going for a while," McHale said. "We went through it earlier, it's just tough."